Mersey Forest have waved their magic wand to transform Euclid Park in Grappenhall, near Warrington. Inspired by feedback from local residents, the team has worked diligently to deliver a range of improvements that include new natural play equipment, orchard fruit trees, wildflower meadows and a more welcoming treatment to the main entrance.
The Year 5 class at St. Wilfrid’s C E Primary School – just across the road from the park, have played a special role in this project. They were invited to work with Jo Sayers of Mersey Forest and myself to develop ideas and designs for the entrance treatment.
The Y5 group explored themes related to the improvements, focusing in particular on the new wild flower meadows and fruit trees being planted. Images of giant wild flowers and associated insects were created as drawings in wire, buttons, paper clips and washers by the talented youngsters, with help from Karen, who came to help out at the design workshops in the school, Jo and I.
The original from which the steel bird was created
spider and flowers in wire, created by Y5
Next, the Y5 team made beautiful, large oil pastel drawings of ‘fallen fruits’. They looked carefully at tonal variation and the colours in the fruits they observed and produced some fantastic works of art. These works became an important reference as they went on to recreate the same images in mosaic. Once the mosaics were complete, they went back to the studio to be cast into large concrete stepping stones before being installed outside the gates.
In the meantime, behind the scenes, the wire creations were carefully being translated into potential designs for steelwork to adorn the very dull grey gates. Having sought approval from Y5 and discussed the fabrication with expert blacksmith Martin Lister, I went back to the studio to make full size templates for each piece.
Carl, at Luke Lister Blacksmiths, working from the template to forge one of the steel flowers
Heating and manipulating the steel bar into shape at the anvil
plasma cut butterfly before galvanising
The finishing touches on site came together on Wednesday as Martin and Carl fixed the steel artworks in place. It was lovely to see the reactions of one or two of the Y5 design team who were nearby as the work went in.
Well done everybody, it looks great. Judging from the responses of the neighbours who came out to have a look on Wednesday, I think that this has proved to be an exceptionally popular project. Enjoy your new park!!